Let’s talk about Virtual Reality gaming. To be honest, it’s a concept I never thought I would be able to see in my lifetime. To see it and hear about it on gaming news and Youtube is one thing, but to experience it for myself is another.
I got the privilege of trying out the much awaited Playstation VR last month, and from my hands-on experience I can safely say that the future of gaming is fast approaching.
I’ve tried out Oculus Rift last year with a horror game created by a Filipino game developer company. I thought the experience met my expectations and that the device itself could still improve in many ways. I also got to try the Oculus Rift again this year, and still felt satisfied with the experience.
One of the first things I’ve noticed with the PSVR is that it’s comfortable to wear and that it can still be worn even if you’re wearing glasses. When I’ve tried out the Oculus, I was advised to take my specs off, which is a little discomforting as my eyes are a little sensitive to screen glares. It was also significantly easier to adjust to the PSVR over the Oculus. There was a small mechanism that I could tweak for myself so that I can align my vision with the PSVR’s screen.
The PSVR seems to have a pretty simple set up compared to the Oculus. I’ve noticed that the guys at Playstation didn’t need to do anything fancy to get the PSVR running, as opposed to when I tried out the Oculus rift and the demo hosts had to go through some adjustments on the PC and a little more fidgeting on the headset.
This is something Hiroyuki Oda, deputy president of Sony Japan, touted as their biggest advantage against competitors. During our group interview he boasted that all we would need to do to enjoy VR gaming is to “just plug in the PSVR, plug in the PS4, that’s it. That’s our biggest advantage.”
(You can read more about my interview with Hiroyuki Oda on my Rappler article here: Plug-and-play is Playstation VR’s ‘biggest advantage’ – Sony Deputy President.)
The games at the demo showed the different ways the PSVR can be applied to video games. The Playstation VR is compatible with the Dual Shock 4 controllers as well as the Playstation Move. It can also work on its own.
During the demo I was able to try four PSVR games, and my favorite of which is actually a casual game called Playroom VR. The Playroom VR has a pretty genius concept in that involves not only the wearer of the PSVR, but also up to 4 of his friends through the use of the controllers. What the PSVR user sees is different from the what the rest of the players see on the television. It’s a pretty neat set up for a party or for family bonding time.
(You can read more about the Playroom VR on my Rappler article here: Playroom VR brings the party to Playstation VR)
Applying and extending that concept to other video games could change living room gaming completely. Imagine playing horror games or fantasy RPG ones where the VR user plays a character supported or opposed by four more players. That would be a riot.
While Sony does say that many developers are interested in making games for the PSVR, I still believe that Oculus has the larger share of available video games. Because the Oculus is tied to the PC (and the Xbox in the future), there’s more room for developers to experiment and create tons of games. However, because the PSVR is dedicated only to the Playstation, there’s a higher chance that the games made available are more stable.
With all that being being said, while I believe PSVR has a significant advantage over the Oculus Rift, it’s still too soon to see which VR device is king. We are after all, in the early stages of the “new console war,” and it would be very interesting to see just how crazy it can get when the very first VR generation devices become available to the market.
I for one, am looking forward to the next few years of the gaming industry. Times are a changing, and they’re changing fast.